|Publication number||US8040105 B1|
|Application number||US 11/764,104|
|Publication date||Oct 18, 2011|
|Filing date||Jun 15, 2007|
|Priority date||Jun 15, 2007|
|Also published as||US8957635, US20120019199|
|Publication number||11764104, 764104, US 8040105 B1, US 8040105B1, US-B1-8040105, US8040105 B1, US8040105B1|
|Original Assignee||At&T Intellectual Property I, Lp|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (3), Classifications (9), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Millions of portable electronic devices are in everyday use in the United States alone. Globally, the number is even greater. Examples of such devices include personal digital assistants (PDAs), laptop computers, cellular phones, two-way radios, global positioning system (GPS) receivers, wireless modems, etc. The foregoing are just a few of the numerous types of portable electronic devices that many people depend on for business, industry, and management of personal and family matters. Unfortunately, many users are disappointed with the relatively short operating time provided by limited battery capacity. Furthermore, circumstances often prevent recharging a portable device with sufficient regularity to avoid “dead battery” situations altogether.
Sometimes, a lack of battery capacity is a mere inconvenience to the user. However, emergencies do arise in which a portable electronic device—say, related to GPS locating and/or two-way communication—can mitigate critical circumstances. What's more, just a brief period of operation can make all the difference. For example, 40 seconds of available power so as to place an emergency cellular phone call can favorably alter the outcome of a life-or-death situation. Therefore, means and methods for providing useful operating energy to portable electronic devices would have appreciable utility.
This summary is provided to introduce general concepts of emergency power generating sources for portable electronic devices, which are further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.
In one aspect, a portable apparatus comprises a housing, and electronic circuitry supported by the housing. The apparatus also includes a mechanical assembly supported by the housing. The mechanical assembly is configured to receive mechanical energy manually input by a user. The portable apparatus also includes a generator supported by the housing and coupled to the mechanical assembly. The generator is configured to convert the mechanical energy into electrical energy. The portable apparatus further includes one or more storage devices configured to store the electrical energy from the generator. The electronic circuitry is configured to access the electrical energy stored by the one or more storage devices.
In another aspect, a portable electronic device includes a housing, and electronic circuitry supported by the housing, the electronic circuitry configured to perform at least one cellular communications function. The device also includes a mechanical assembly supported by the housing. The mechanical assembly is configured to derive mechanical energy from direct user manipulations of the mechanical assembly itself. The portable electronic device further includes a generator supported by the housing, and configured to convert the mechanical energy into electrical energy. Also included is power conditioning circuitry that is supported by the housing. The power conditioning circuitry is configured to condition one or more aspects of the electrical energy from the generator. The portable electronic device also includes one or more storage devices supported by the housing and configured to store the electrical energy from the power conditioning circuitry. Furthermore, the electronic circuitry is also configured to access the electrical energy stored by the one or more storage devices.
In yet another aspect, a method is provided that includes receiving mechanical energy manually input to a portable electronic device. The method also includes converting the mechanical energy into electrical energy. Furthermore, the method includes storing the electrical energy on board the portable electronic device.
The detailed description is set forth with reference to the accompanying figures. The use of the same reference numbers in different figures indicates similar or identical items.
This disclosure is directed to emergency power generating sources and supporting elements for inclusion within various forms of portable electronic devices. Providing an onboard system for generating and storing electrical power makes possible usage of the portable device's various functions in emergencies and other brief-need scenarios. Generally, a user of the device is the original source of mechanical energy that is converted to electrical energy, conditioned (if necessary), and stored. Various means for inputting a user's manual energies are envisioned, including the use of a scroll wheel, a trackball, a crank handle, the sliding case of the portable electronic device itself, etc. The foregoing examples represent just a few of many different energy generation mechanisms that may be used to generate power for a portable device. Thus, versatility in the design of such portable electronic devices is contemplated.
Illustrative Portable Electronic Devices
The PED 102 of
In the illustrated embodiment, the mechanical assembly 116 is configured to convert one form of mechanical energy input, as provided directly by user manipulations, into another suitable form of mechanical energy (or motion). Thus, the mechanical assembly 116 can include a gear train, linkages, reciprocating and/or rotating parts, etc., as needed in accordance with a particular PED 102. The mechanical assembly 116 can be relatively simple or complex, as needed, to suit the particular PED 102. The majority, if not all, of the mechanical assembly 116 is configured to be supported within the housing 102A of the PED 102. However, in other embodiments, the mechanical assembly 116 may be omitted, combined with another element (e.g., the generator), or otherwise modified as necessary or desired for a given application.
The PED 102 of the system 100 can be configured to include one or more of the input devices 118-128, as suitably coupled to a corresponding embodiment of the mechanical assembly 116. For example, a PED 102, whose principle function is that of a cellular phone, can be provided and supported within a clamshell housing arrangement 126. The exemplary PED 102 can also include a scroll wheel 122 that is supported by the clamshell housing 126. In this example, the scroll wheel 122 is used primarily to scroll through and/or select from menu items presented to a user by way of the user interface 106. However, either or both of the scroll wheel 122 and the clamshell housing 126 can be coupled to a mechanical assembly 116 that is configured to convert user manipulations of the scroll wheel 122 and/or clamshell housing 126 into a suitable form of mechanical energy (e.g., a rotating shaft, etc.).
The PED 102 of
The PED 102 may also include power conditioning circuitry (PCC) 132. The PCC 132 is coupled to and receives electrical energy from the generator 130. The power conditioning circuitry 132 is configured to condition one or more aspects (characteristics) of the electrical energy received from the generator 130. Such conditioning performed by the PCC 132 can include, as non-limiting examples, rectification of A.C. electrical energy, voltage regulation, current regulation, and voltage and/or current limiting. The PCC 132 can be further configured to protect against overcharging one or more energy storage devices (described below). The PCC 132 can be suitably defined and provided in accordance with the particular needs of the PED 102 being served.
The PED 102 of
At 202 (
At 204 (
At 206 (
At 208 (
At 210 (
In another method, one or more alerts can be provided to the user as discrete, predetermined quantities of electrical energy are stored by the energy storage device(s) 134. For example, a bar-graph can be displayed by way of the user interface 106, wherein tick marks corresponding to each half-minute of device operation are provided. Such a method serves to avoid user frustration by assuring some minimum usage time of the PED 102. In this way, for example, a user knows when sufficient electrical energy has been generated, conditioned and stored so as to place a short (e.g., two-minute) cellular phone call, dispatch a short text message from a wireless communications device, acquire a reliable location fix by way of GPS positioning, etc.
Illustrative Generating Means
The PED 302 also includes a generator 312. In one example, the generator 312 includes a coil 314. The coil 314 include several turns of fine wire 316 helically wound about a support tube 318. In one embodiment, the coil 314 includes in excess of one thousand turns of wire 316. In any case, the two respective ends 320 and 322 of the wire 316 are electrically coupled to the PCC 308. However, in other embodiments, the generator may include any other known type generator capable of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.
The generator 312 of
During normal operation of the PED 302 of
The PED 302 of
Although the invention has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described. Rather, the specific features and acts are disclosed as exemplary forms of implementing the invention.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US6236214 *||Dec 23, 1999||May 22, 2001||Ericsson Inc.||Method and apparatus for determining the remaining operation time of a mobile communication unit|
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8479221 *||Nov 20, 2009||Jul 2, 2013||Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.||Automatic processing of agricultural data|
|US9396049||Jun 4, 2013||Jul 19, 2016||Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.||Automatic processing of agricultural data|
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|U.S. Classification||320/114, 320/123, 320/107|
|Cooperative Classification||H02K7/1853, H02J7/1415, H02J7/1438|
|European Classification||H02J7/14E, H02J7/14C|
|Jul 3, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AT&T INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, INC., DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CRAINE, ARI;REEL/FRAME:019513/0640
Effective date: 20070611
|May 29, 2015||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Oct 18, 2015||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Dec 8, 2015||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20151018